Comedian John Witherspoon, best known to TV audiences for his role as John “Pops” Williams on The WB’s 1990s sitcom The Wayans Bros., has died at the age of 77.
Witherspoon’s family confirmed his passing on Tuesday, but did not disclose a cause of death.
“It is with deep sadness we have to tweet this, but our husband and father John Witherspoon has passed away,” they said in a statement. “He was a legend in the entertainment industry, and a father figure to all who watched him over the years. We love you ‘POPS’ always and forever.”
Soon after, TV sons Marlon and Shawn Wayans paid tribute to Witherspoon on Instagram, referring to their former co-star as a “mentor” and a “friend.”
View this post on Instagram
I’m sad. Broken. Hurt.. yet extremely grateful to God that i got to spend 5 years of my life working with one of the funniest sweetest wisest humblest loving man @johnnywitherspoon you were my tv dad and my mentor and my friend. I miss you already. Something don’t feel right. This is heavy on my heart. Anyone that knows me knows how much i love pops. You have a strong wife and great kids. What an amazing family. Your boys damn near grew up on the #WayansBros set they’ll always be like my little brothers and sons. i will pass on all the jewels that you bestowed on to us. Thank you God for the many many many laughs that we shared on and off the set. You got “all the keys 🔑 “ and i know you got one to heaven’s gate. Anytime i want to laugh or to see you I’m gonna put on a episode of wayans bros and laugh until i cry. I miss already…. hope your dancing in heaven with ugly white shoes on. “Pops pops sugar pops”. #ripjohnwitherspoon #mysecondpops
View this post on Instagram
John T Boys Boy Witherspoon. Man I cried myself to sleep last night just thinking about how much I’m going to miss you. You are one of the funniest, coolest, wisest dudes I ever met and joy to work with. Thank you for all of the laughs and wisdom you shared with me and my brother throughout the years and also for helping us keep our cool during the Wayans Bros as we fought to make that show what it is. I’m gonna miss our conversations every year about our Favorite holiday Christmas and hearing you sing Johnny Mathis songs and even some of your own ditty’s like MONEY BEING MADE 😂😂AROUND HERE And WHEN MY LOVE GOES BANG BANG BANG 😂 or when you would gather me you and Marlon in a really tight circle and say our favorite line from Wayans Bros “NOW MARLON AINT NOBODY GONNA SPEND A THOUSAND DOLLARS AN HOUR TO LOOk 👀 AT YOUUUUUU” RIP Pops I’m sure gonna miss you. Love you man
In addition to The Wayans Bros., Witherspoon voiced Robert “Granddad” Freeman on The Boondocks, and co-starred on The Tracy Morgan Show, The First Family and Black Jesus. His lengthy resume, which spanned five decades, also included episodes of black-ish, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Good Times, Hill Street Blues, The Incredible Hulk, L.A. Law, Living Single, Martin, What’s Happening!! and WKRP in Cincinnati.
On the big screen, Witherspoon played Mr. Jones in the Friday trilogy. He also reunited with TV sons Shawn and Marlon Wayans in the 2006 comedy Little Man.